? The workaround to using annotations in Google Data Studio time series charts

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Please see below update – valid on 04/09/2021

Often in a time series chart in Google Data Studio we want to reference particular key events: website updates, important media activations etc. We can do this in Google Analytics & Google Ads but there is not an out the box way to add a note or annotations in Data Studio.

There is a current workaround. Adding a new custom metric

  • Click +Add A Field in a time series chart in which you want to add a particular event or date (easy way to access this is to click on the time series chart and look in the bottom right of screen as below)
  • We have used the below script to change the metric for DATE to set a value of 1 – the 1 being the additional value we need to see in the time series chart.
CASE
When Date = DATE '2021-08-18' THEN 1
END

  • Your Google Data Studio annotation should now be visible in the time series chart. If not –
  • Still not working? Check our potential fixes below

  • If your graph looks like the below (and you can see the metric in the legend but cannot see the bar itself).
    • Click on your time series chart and go the In the style section towards the top right of the screen

  • Set the axis max value for the bar chart attached to the metric as 1. In our example this is the LEFT Y-AXIS
  • We just want to ensure finally the axis is set to the opposite of the 1 value – so above we found it was set on the LEFT Y-AXIS so just want select RIGHT.
    • Now if your chart is showing a line instead of a bar. Simply change the value to a bar chart. To do this select your time series chart. Go to STYLE in the top right. Change the appropriate metric to a bar

    Stuck still? Feel free to add a comment below and we can help you through! If you got something out of this feel free to share, rate the article or comment below!

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    2 COMMENTS

    1. Great workaround! This is exactly what I was looking for.

      However, after I click “add a metric in the metric section” within a time series chart, I’m not seeing an option to add a “custom metric” — only “create field.”

      Am I missing something?

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